Monday, December 13, 2010

Ja Rule pleads guilty in gun case

Rap star Ja Rule faces up to two years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon.

The charge stems from July 2007, when police stopped his luxury sports car for speeding following a Manhatten concert and said they found a loaded semiautomatic gun in a rear door.
His chauffered 250,000-plus US dollar Maybach also had a suspended registration and no insurance, police said.

The rapper said "this isn't a good day" and declined to discuss the case as he left the Manhattan court.
Specifically, the rapper admitted to a charge that involves attempting to have a loaded gun outside one's home or workplace.

He was promised a two-year prison sentence. He's free until sentencing, on a date yet to be set. He is due in court on February 9 for an update.

Known for his gravelly voice and collaborations with artists including Ashanti and Jennifer Lopez, Ja Rule scored a 2002 nomination for the best rap album Grammy Award with Pain Is Love.

Born Jeffrey Atkins, he also also has appeared in movies, including the 2001 film The Fast And The Furious and 2003's Scary Movie 3.

Judge in Va. strikes down federal health care law

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal judge rejected a key provision of the Obama administration's health care law as unconstitutional Monday, ruling the government cannot require people to buy insurance, in a dispute that both sides agree will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson is the first federal judge to strike down the law, which has been upheld by two other federal judges in Virginia and Michigan. Several other lawsuits have been dismissed and others are pending, including one filed by 20 other states in Florida.

The government had argued the Commerce Clause of the Constitution gives the government the power to require individuals to buy health insurance or face a penalty, a provision due to take effect in 2014.
But Hudson sided with Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli in saying the mandate overstepped the Constitution.


ALG Praises Federal Court Decision Invalidating ObamaCare Individual Mandate as Unconstitutional


December 13th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today issued the following statement praising the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson to find ObamaCare’s individual mandate unconstitutional:

“The decision today by Federal Judge Hudson to invalidate the individual mandate in ObamaCare is a tremendous step forward. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli deserves the praise and thanks of all Americans. Hopefully, future courts will finish the job and completely find ObamaCare to be unconstitutional.

“It is an unprecedented step forcing all Americans to purchase health insurance individually or through employers, obtain it from the government, or else pay a fine. Never before had Congress enacted a law forcing Americans to buy anything. As Judge Hudson said in August, ObamaCare’s individual mandate ‘literally forges new ground and extends Commerce Clause powers beyond its current high watermark.’ This means the Obama Administration was completely wrong when it asserted that ‘there is a pretty longstanding precedent on the constitutionality of this.’

“Without the individual mandate, ObamaCare loses a lot of its teeth. The mandate was supposed to be the mechanism to force millions of out-of-work Americans onto Medicaid. Without it, the path to a completely government-run health care system has run into a wall.”

Get permalink here

Tax Deal a Diversion from Crippling Debt

By Bill Wilson
Starting today, Congress will begin the process of enacting the deal negotiated between the White House and the Republican Senate. It has been much more difficult than many had imagined to come to a clear cut position on this measure. As I and others have stated over the last several days, the country is on the horns of a dilemma.

If the deal goes through, with the automatic tax increases blocked for two years along with a host of tax “extenders”, social spending and so-called “green” subsidies, the nation is likely to avoid a double-dip recession. But the price is we will be adding nearly $1 trillion in more debt to the U.S. balance sheets because the deal will not address Washington’s out-of-control spending.

If, on the other hand, the deal is rejected, taxes will soar, we will almost certainly get that dreaded double-dip and the budget deficit is likely to explode with added social expenditures.

Neither prospect is appealing. The $120 billion payroll tax reduction is nothing more than Stimulus IV but by another name. Little can be expected from it except adding to the $13.8 trillion debt.

While the outcome is in doubt, the odds favor the establishment. Their fear of another downturn in the economy has greater sway over the politicians than the legitimate fear of opponents — real or feigned — of the growth in the national debt. This is yet another example of the American prejudice for immediate gratification.

Get full story here.

Death Tax Kills Family Farms and Ranches

Video by Frank McCaffrey
Get permalink here.

Labor Union Employees Find Favor With the Obama Administration

By Rebekah Rast
“Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”—Barack Obama, during his remarks when welcoming senior staff and cabinet secretaries, Jan. 21, 2009.
Obviously Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis chose to ignore this part of her boss’s speech.

The Department of Labor has made no effort towards making labor unions more transparent. In fact, it has made them less transparent while holding up transparency laws for private businesses and corporations that choose not to unionize.

Just last week the Department of Labor made another move confirming its labor union favoritism. The department rescinded the T-1 form requiring labor unions to disclose information about their trusts to their members and the general public.

A summary of the Department’s action stated, “the trust reporting required under the rule is overly broad and is not necessary to prevent the circumvention and evasion of the Title II reporting requirements.”
This gives labor unions another way to hide behind their collected member’s money.
Get full story here.

Label Me Conservative

By David Bozeman

The reason Democrats lost big in the recent mid-terms is labels. Yes, whenever the chattering classes start telling us that ideological labels impede constructive national dialogue, it usually means the liberal/progressive agenda is being soundly rejected again. So, buckle in, America, a well-organized campaign is about to tell you — for the umpteenth time this century — that you're too loud, too extreme, uncompromising, and limits on political advertising may well be prescribed to ensure a healthier civic dialogue.

And you may hear it from the right as well as the left. Columnist Kathleen Parker, who inexplicably passes for conservative, recently profiled a new organization called No Labels. I'll spare the reader the excruciatingly uninspiring details of its inception, except to say that it's a well-funded (more than $1 million), bi-partisan effort to unite those independent voices alienated by the dominant extremes in the political arena.
Get full story here.

Obama steps aside, Clinton Takes over

By: Barbara
 How bizarre was that scene… Buh Bye Obama … Hello President Clinton.
 I think the quote of the year should be Bill Clinton saying to Obama, as Obama ran off to a party with Michelle and left Bill to handle a Presidential news conference.
“Well I don’t want to make her mad, please go”
I am thinking how different things would be if it was Bill who ran off saying he had a party to attend and didn’t want to make Hillary mad the media would be having a field day talking about Hillary’s balls and Bills lack of.

Or better yet if Hillary or any woman was President and ran off saying she didn’t want to make her husband angry. Uhgggggggggggggg! Could you just hear the calls for RESIGN, INCAPABLE, INCOMPETANT Woman.

 Oh well… but the blog headlines such as As Hillary Said: “It’ll take a Clinton to clean up after a Bush” are very funny, and they are all over the internet and all over every news channel. This is just too good to pass up, I can hardly wait to hear what SNL and every late night comics are going to do with this one!
“Obama Names Bill Clinton to Presidential Post”
 Or this one:
WASHINGTON DC – Ending weeks of speculation and rumors, President Barack Obama today named Bill Clinton to join his administration as President of the United States, where he will head the federal government’s executive branch.
Great news: Bill Clinton apparently now president again”
I can’t do justice to what you’re about to see.

The spectacle of the president bugging out of his own press conference to go to a Christmas party is weird enough, but having Clinton back at the White House podium fielding questions on the hottest domestic issue of the day shoots past deja vu and lands firmly in “am I hallucinating?” territory.

“Obama installs Clinton alone at the podium, leaves him to it; Obama gone, Clinton still there”

My favorite headline is

“Obama gone…Clinton President”

If Only.

First Official Image and Details for ‘Fast Five’ Released

Here is the first official photo from Fast Five, the fifth Fast and Furious installment! Dwayne Johnson is a new addition to the cast of this franchise that has almost made half-billion dollars domestically since the first film in 2001.
Johnson plays Hobbs, a cop on the trail of street racers Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson and the other familiar faces and is scheduled to to hit theaters on April 29.
USA Today did an interview with the cast and crew and here is what they had to say:
According to Johnson,
"One of the things I've always loved about the franchise — the reason I think it's been so successful over the years — is that they never stop trying to up the action."
According to Justin Lin, who has been helming the franchise since 2006's The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, the challenge has been in trying to top its muscle cars and muscled stars.
He goes on to say, 
"If you're going to do a Fast and Furious movie, you've got to go bigger each time. People thought it would be impossible to get Dwayne. But he didn't show up looking to cash a paycheck. That's pretty amazing, for a star like him to join the fifth part of a franchise. That says a lot about him and the fans."
Lin had this so to say about the intrigue of the films,
"I think what keeps it going is that it's not really about cars. I have to be honest: I'm not a big car guy. At the core, Fast and Furious is about family and how to create them."
According to Lin, Dwayne Johnson was brought on because he was the logical choice to chase Diesel's leadfoot character Dom Toretto and Walker's ex-cop Brian O'Conner.
Lin had the following to say about the chemistry on set,
"the vibe was electric when Dwayne walked on set. The whole crew was buzzing with him, Vin, and all these other huge action stars on one set. It was like having (Sylvester) Stallone and (Bruce) Willis in the same movie."
Are you looking forward to seeing this film?

Mona Lisa’s eyes may contain new code from Da Vinci

Mona LisaMonday, December 13th, 2010 By Mary Rice

Mona Lisa's eyes may contain a secret message. Image: Flickr / usagent / CC-BY-ND
Mona Lisa has long been an object of mystery and speculation. The latest discovery of numbers and letters in Mona Lisa’s eyes makes that mystery even deeper. Italy’s National Committee for Cultural Heritage announced the discovery earlier today.

Mona Lisa eyes carry a secret message

The Mona Lisa painting is one of the most enigmatic and mysterious in historical modern art. Everything from fictional books to serious scientific study has tried to determine everything from the identity of Mona Lisa to the secret messages the painting might contain. The newest discovery in Mona Lisa’s eyes adds to this speculation. Under ultra-high magnification, there are letters and possibly numbers hidden in the Mona Lisa’s eyes. The right eye appears to contain the letters “LV” while the left eye has what could be a “C” and “E” or possibly a “B.” The arch of the bridge in the background of the painting appears to have either a “72″ or “L2″ in the paint. See one of the magnifications at the Daily Mail.

Why look in Mona Lisa’s eyes?

One of the most interesting tidbits about the Mona Lisa eyes discovery is why scientists magnified her eyes in the first place. A member of the Italian National Committee for Cultural Heritage initiated the project after finding an old book in an antique shop. The unidentified book apparently referred to the “symbols in Mona Lisa’s eyes.” After reading that, the Italian National Committee magnified the painting to look for the symbols — and found them.

Theories about Mona Lisa eyes message

Though the letters and possibly numbers in Mona Lisa’s eyes have only just been discovered, there are already multiple theories as to their meaning. Some say that the “LV” could represent the artist himself, Leonardo Da Vinci. Some say that the numbers represent a secret love note to the subject of the painting, though some argue the Mona Lisa is a feminized portrait of Da Vinci himself. Others say that the letters may be a social or political secret message. Fans of books such as Lewis Purdue’s “Da Vinci Legacy” and Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” may even believe it is a religious message. What do you think the message in Mona Lisa’s eyes means?

Miley Cyrus, Salvia, and the Bong Video

Recently, TMZ uploaded a video of an 18-year old Miley Cyrus smoking Salvia out of a bong.  Salvia is a hallucinogenic herb that is currently legal in California.  Unsurprisingly, the video has created a bit of outrage, not only from parents who see Miley as an influence on their children, but also those who want to ban Salvia. Here is the video from TMZ: What Makes A Drug Illegal?

There has been a push to classify Salvia as a class I drug, the same as LSD or Marijuana. However, Salvia is a perfectly legal drug for those over the age of 18 in California. However, 15 states have banned the herb because of it’s effects on people. This was notably a focus of “Brett’s law” in which a 17 year old Delaware student committed suicide after carbon monoxide poisoning. His parents blamed the death on a salvia-induced depression. It has since been classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in Delaware.
The controlled substances are placed in certain schedules based on their potential for abuse.

Is Miley Wrong?
The video posted by TMZ was shot during a party at Miley’s L.A. area home 5 days after her 18th birthday. She was videotaped smoking Salvia from a bong. This alone is not illegal or wrong. However, the effects of Miley’s videos are already being felt. TMZ is again reporting that the sales of Salvia have tripled in some cases. People are not only asking for Salvia, but for “the stuff Miley was smoking.”

So is Miley Wrong? She didn’t do anything illegal, as far as we know (if she had gotten behind the wheel of a car in an altered state, then yes she would be guilty of a DUI), but she is probably not setting a good example. Should an herb that creates strong hallucinogenic effects be legal?

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fired foreign minister Manouchehr Mottaki

The news that seems to surprised all the media today: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fired and replaced Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, state-run Iranian media reported Monday. Mottaki had served as Ahmadinejad’s chief diplomat since the president was first elected in 2005.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Manouchehr Mottaki

In a brief statement on the president’s website, Ahmadinejad thanked Manouchehr Mottaki for his more than five years of service but gave no explanation for the change. He named nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also one of the country’s several vice presidents, to serve as interim foreign minister until a permanent replacement is found. What upset the Iranian President to take such a decision while Foreign Minister Mottaki was in the middle of an official visit to Africa ?

Noticed that over the past year, Iranian media have reported that lawmakers were pushing for Mottaki to be dismissed if more U.N. Security Council sanctions were imposed in response to the country’s nuclear program. According to the reports, the lawmakers felt he was not a strong or persuasive enough advocate for Iran on the international stage. Mottaki has been one of the public faces in the international debate over Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran maintains the program exists for peaceful purposes, but the United States and other Western nations have expressed concern that the program’s goals are more nefarious. Iranian diplomat approaches were unsuccessful. A fourth round of sanctions was imposed in June in response to Iran’s refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a key part of its nuclear program that is of international concern because it can be used both for making reactor fuel and atomic weapons.
Iran’s nuclear policy, however, is determined by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But, I think that isn’t coincidental the appointment of Head of Iran’s nuclear program at the head of the Tehran government diplomacy. Will there be a change in diplomatic strategy? Unlikely. At least not in relations with the West. But Ahmadinejad may be trying to improve relations with Arab states.

Mottaki – victim of Wikileaks disclosures ?

Although Mottaki’s resignation seems to be rather a struggle between interest groups close to President Ahmadinejad, remember that the results of Iran’s diplomatic approaches have received a serious blow as a result of disclosures made by the site Wikileaks. At first, Iran dismissed the State Department memos as “mischief” aimed at damaging Tehran’s ties with the Arab world and said that reading them would be “waste of time”. But Iran could not stay silent as the depth of the Arab worry made headlines around the world – including Saudi’s King Abdullah urging for a U.S. attack against Iran to “cut off the head of the snake”. In response, last week Iran’s foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, told a security summit in Bahrain that Iran would never threaten Muslim neighbors. Authorities, meanwhile, have pressured Iranian newspapers to closely follow the state line on the WikiLeaks releases.

The Stat Line Of The Night – 12/12/10 – DeSean Jackson

The Philadelphia Eagles’ DeSean Jackson may be small in stature, but when it comes to big-play receivers in the NFL, they don’t get much bigger than him.  His game-changing ability was on display once again last night in a game against the Dallas Cowboys as he hauled in only four catches, but he sure did make the most of them.

While four receptions may only get most receivers something around 50 yards, Jackson was able to accumulate a total of 210 yards and a touchdown with his.  The first big play came on the first play from scrimmage for the Eagles offense, as he and quarterback Michael Vick hooked up for a 60-yard pass completion.  He then caught passes for 37 and 22 yards before capping off a one-play drive in the fourth quarter with a 91-yard catch-and-run for the touchdown.  That score put the Eagles up 27-20 and they never looked back from there, on route to an important 30-27 victory over their division rivals.

Jackson is often criticized for his inconsistency, but there is no denying the fact that when he is on his game there are few receivers around the league that are as good as he is.  He was definitely on last night and he earned our “Stat Line of the Night” for Sunday,. December 12, 2010.

Virginia Judge Finds Obama Health Care Law Unconstitutional

Zero Hedge reports:
Some curious headlines flashing on Bloomberg: a Virginia judge has just found that the Obama healthcare law is unconstitutional, and that Congress has exceeded its authority with its requirement that individuals should buy insurance. Also, the judge apparently wants portions of the law overturned. Good thing Obama is a constitutional lawyer and can explain to the judge why he is so very wrong. In the meantime, expect a Supreme Court appeal, and possibly delays to the US debt hitting $1 quadrillion.

Legal Consequences of Jets assistant coach Sal Alosi tripping Miami Dolphins DB Nolan Carroll

If you were watching the Jets-Dolphins game this afternoon with 3:11 left in the 3rd quarter, you witnessed a disturbing incident that speaks terribly of the Jets organization and could lead to fines and possibly even legal action. While on punt coverage, Dolphins rookie corner back Nolan Carroll was intentionally tripped by Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi. Here's the video: After the game, the 33-year-old Alosi owned up to intentionally tripping Carroll: "I made a mistake that showed a total lapse in judgment. My conduct was inexcusable and unsportsmanlike and does not reflect what this organization stands for." What will happen? A few things: 1) Alosi will likely be fined and suspended by the NFL under the league's Personal Conduct Policy, which though normally associated with NFL players, actually covers NFL team employees, as well. Expect the suspension to last the remainder of the season. Not only was Alosi's move a complete cheap shot, it was also dangerous: he could have seriously injured Carroll, who seemingly had no way of knowing that a Jets coach would try to trip him. Sure, Carroll was on notice that he might be tackled by a Jets player on the field, but since when do assistant coaches try to trip you while you're running near the sideline? Alosi was also really cowardly - it would be one thing if a Jets player dished out a cheap shot, because he would do so knowing that there could be retribution. But a Jets coach who does so is safely on the sideline, away from any harm. 2) The Jets may also be fined by the NFL. Like respondeat superior/vicarious liablity with an employer and employee, the Jets are responsible for their coaches. Was this a one-time stupid decision by an assistant coach, or was head coach Rex Ryan aware that Alosi might do something like this? 3) Alosi could be fired by the Jets, though his apology probably helps him there. If he has a pattern of misconduct, though, then a firing may be more justifiable. 4) Carroll suffered a knee injury from the tripping; he limped off the field. If the injury proves serious, he could sue Alosi for battery (intentional harmful contact) and also the Jets under a vicarious liability claim. There's a famous case usually taught in sports law classes called Hackbart v. Cincinnati Bengals, the take-away from which is that while NFL players assume the risk of on-field injuries by playing NFL football, they don't assume all risks, including those for clear cheap shots. If Alosi's move wasn't a cheap shot, I don't know what is. -- Posted by Michael McCann @